Brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher along with their dog Ben, make national news for freeing a bald eagle caught in a trap according to CNN News, Nov. 30, 2014. The two brothers were grouse hunting near Ontario around by Windy Lake when they drove to an open cut and Neil noticed something in the distance. However, it didn’t stay around long before it was gone, or so they thought.
The two brothers parked the truck and proceeded to check the area out on foot. They came across some quad tracks and thought someone had been out hunting and left the animal’s insides as food for scavengers. Michael told thesudburystar.com, “Then we saw some movement, walked in a bit, and the bald eagle was stuck there in a trap.”
The eagle had one of his talons caught in a claw trap that is often set by fur trappers in the area. The eagle was frantic and scared, becoming more agitated each time the two brothers came near. The two brothers could wait for someone to arrive from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, they could walk away, or they could rescue the bald eagle themselves.
Michael set his video recording device on the ground, as he took off his hooded sweatshirt. He and his brother approached the eagle and after several attempts to cover the eagle’s eyes with the sweatshirt, Michael finally succeeded and the eagle became calm.
The brothers struggled to press the release mechanism to open the trap, and it took them a minute or two before the trap opened. Their dog Ben kept close by, carefully watching the brothers as they worked to get the eagle free.
Finally, they released the eagle from the trap and while Michael ran to snatch his video recording device, Neil picked up the eagle and carried him to a clearing. The bald eagle didn’t struggle, or try to claw them with his powerful talons; he remained calm and even seemed to pose for a selfie.
Neil and Michael checked the eagle over for injuries, but determined there was none, so they could safely release him. They said they held the eagle about shoulder high, gave him a gentle little push, and he flew to a nearby tree. The brothers stayed and watched him for 10 to 15 minutes before they drove away.
What did Michael think about seeing an eagle up close? He said, “I was surprised by the size, and that it’s such a beautiful bird. When you see the eyes up close, they’re really amazing.” Neil and Michael will never forget this one hunting trip and they posted the video on their Facebook page. They continued with their grouse hunting, but they never found any of those.